Monaco

In 1962, just for a change, my dad didn't go to Le Mans. Instead, Bill and he went to Monte Carlo for the Grand Prix. Did they fly? No. They made a proper petrolhead trip of it. First up, they drove to Germany (what in those days would have been West Germany, to be precise) for the Nurburgring 1000km. Then they drove down through the Alps to Monte Carlo, watched the Grand Prix, and then drove back up through France, via Arles, the Gorges du Tarn, Le Mans (OK, so he went there, but not for the 24 hour race this time) and then back to Calais. Not something you see every day - a racing car (Formula Junior - the precursor to Formula 3) parked at the side of the road, between a couple of oh-so-French vans. One of the most iconic Formula 1 cars - the Sharknose Ferrari 156, driven here by Phil Hill. Jack Brabham in a Lotus-Climax 24, in Casino...
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And we’re back…

What do you mean I last posted in March? It wasn't that long ago, surely? Oops... Now, where were we? Ah yes, 1961, and it's Le Mans time again - for the third and final time, my father and his friend Bill went to Le Mans for the 24 hour race. This, believe it or not, is the start of the race. The drivers have just run over from the bank in the foreground and are just getting into the cars. And yes, the spectators really are that close. The two cars are Aston Martins DB4 GT Zagatos. #4 is Roy Salvadori & Tony Maggs' car, while #5 is Jim Clark and Ron Flockhart. This is taken from directly above the pits - the Ferrari garage in this case. This is #10, a Ferrari 250, with Phil Hill getting in. Night view from above the pits, with Bill watching. The Salvadori/Maggs Aston Martin, in the process of retiring, 19 hours into the race. There is...
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Le Mans 1960, part 2

This little selection is from behind the scenes at Le Mans One of the bars at night People sleeping in the stand La Calandre, the small hotel/restaurant where my father stayed. I can't find any reference to it still being open, but there is a Rue de la Calandre in Le Mans, so I suppose that's where the hotel was. And the staff at La Calandre, saying goodbye...
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Le Mans 1959

As promised, here are the pictures from Le Mans in 1959. Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa (Phil Hill's car), photographed at "Pesage", which I think is scrutineering. A whole load of Ferraris (250's and a Dino), also at Scrutineering An Aston Martin DBR1 - the car that came second (just behind an identical car) The start - I still can't believe how close everyone is to the track, and not a safety fence in sight! Stirling Moss retiring from the race in the evening - another Aston Martin DBR1 ...
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France / Belgium, 1959

In June 1959, my dad and his friend Bill Greenstreet went to the Continent for a holiday - not a common thing to do in those days. No nipping over on the cross-channel ferry for them. Instead they used the wonderfully named "Air Bridge" - a Bristol freighter which flew them to France. That's Bill's car being loaded. A typical French road, lined with plane trees - near Nogent-Sur-Seine if you're really interested. The Basilica in Lisieux This is Le Mans cathedral, and that should tell you a lot about why they really went to France. The first box of 50 black and white films can probably be summarised as "student days", while the second box (the one I'm on now) can probably be summed up as "petrolhead" - it looks like about half of the films are dedicated to motorsport meetings all over the place - Silverstone, Brands Hatch and most significantly of all, Le Mans. But, we'll come to that soon... After...
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Warning to the Public – Motor Racing Is Dangerous

Too bloody right it's dangerous when you consider how close my dad is standing to the course, with nothing but a bit of grass and maybe a small wooden fence between him and some racing cars!This is from the 6th August 1956, at the Television Trophy at Brands Hatch. It's a Formula 3 race, and the information my dad recorded on the back of a print of this wonderfully detailed:#2 Cooper Norton. Stuart Lewis-Evans#6 Cooper Norton, George Wicken#1 Cooper Mk IX Norton (Cooper Car Co) Jim Russell#36 Cooper MK IX Norton, Ivor BuebAnd amazingly, there is a website that confirms it all.It's amazing to see how close they were to the action, and the complete absence of any safety features. I know drivers were killed all the time in those days, but you have to wonder how many spectators died as well. I was going to say that I thought things might have changed after the huge fatal accident at...
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Petrolhead

Peter Collins in a Formula 1 Maserati 250F. Crystal Palace 30/05/1955 Colin Chapman in a Lotus XI. Goodwood 24/09/1955 A couple of shots from the 1955 motorsport summer. The amount of detail my dad recorded on some of these shots is great - written on the back of the prints of these two photos is the following: 1) Formula 1 Maserati 250F (2.5 litre), disc brakes, alloy wheels. Owen Racing Organisation car, driven by Peter Collins 2) Lotus Mk IX Climax, 1097cc. Six Mile Stable, driven by Colin Chapman. Almost certainly XPE8, the works car at Le Mans 1955. Cleaned up on the races that day....
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